Monday, May 30, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
A recent, somewhere-in-between article from the New York Times reports on an interesting study about movement and weight. To quote a portion of it:
The researchers believe the tendency to sit still or move around is biological and inborn, governed by genetically determined levels of brain chemicals. And that tendency influences weight - not the other way around, the researchers say.
I am still mustering up the strength to spend a vacation crafting my essay. I agree with a lot of the information on this website, although it is not as logically navigable as it could be. This one also has some nice information. The problem with these types of sites is that [A] they tend to look amateurish, and [B] they are so far outside the mainstream that their content is not a force to be reckoned with against the the fat hysteria that is everywhere. That's because society does not believe that fat people can be healthy and happy.
This would be the crux of my essay. I'm always at war with the society that wants (dare I say, needs) to blame me for my size.
Here I go again. Trying to make a simple point in a complex issue. I must stop now! At least there's Daniel Pinkwater, who accepts himself as he is and isn't afraid to poke fun at the silliness.
Now I must do my chores before the real relaxation of the long holiday weekend can commence.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Interestingly, the young picture of Caitlin here was taken at the same time as the one of Andrew from my previous prom picture before-and-after.
Caitlin, my 2½-year old babycakes, in 1990
Caitlin, my 17½-year old babycakes, with Ben for prom in 2005
By the way, in both instances, I have long hence ceased use of the nicknames assigned to the captions. I may be a sentimental old fool, but I'm not cruel.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
My meaningless, just-before-bedtime post. And now, another funny blog cartoon.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
I love the idea of blogging, journalling, and writing creatively. The truth of the matter is, however, that there are other things that I have consciously decided are a better use of my time.
Working my job not only helps to pay all our living expenses, it also -- almost more importantly -- provides our health insurance. In my impetuous youth, that was something I didn't give high priority. So, leaving a stable job with that particular perk to move 'cross country didn't worry me. Now, I'm older (it's 14 years this month since my relocation adventure). I've seen first-hand how health insurance can prevent bankruptcy. And I'm not the only one to think about anymore.
That's just one example. There are others. The point is that I have a cyclical understanding that prioritization is a reality, a necessity. I must abnegate my dreams, and simply be thankful for a wonderful family, a good job, and a safe place to live. For their maintenance is not simple at all. It requires an allocation of time. Less important things mustn't threaten that.
Oftentimes during my morning routine, lunch at my desk, or in other bits of time, I read a variety of information sources online. The New York Times is my favorite, followed closely by MSNBC.com, CNN.com, and NPR.org. There are articles and stories that intrigue me enough that I email them to myself with a reminder to add it to my blog. Well, as of today, there are 44 such reminders sitting in my box, waiting. I rarely make the time to add them here.
In the interest of respecting my own wishes, and with the above-mentioned realization that my priorities lie elsewhere, here is a small list of the topics I've hoped to blog in the past couple months.
- A cute blogging cartoon
- A nice tribute to Rotary International, an organization near and dear to my heart. I wish I had done this sooner, so the whole text of the article would be available for free. It has gone to "archive" status and requires payment to read in full.
- An article that supports my long-standing argument that the speed limit should be reduced to 55 MPH (I remember the two great reasons it was first reduced in the late 70's -- it saves lives, and it saves gas. Doesn't anyone else remember?)
- More ideas on how to conserve energy resources, oil in particular (Americans could save 50 billion gallons of gas a year by switching to hybrid vehicles)
- Blogger has its own blog. How cool is that?! I have to say that I love Google. And I'm not just kissing up because they host my blog. Their search engine, their maps, their free email, their philosophy, their doodles, everything.
- Stress and short-term memory (now I have an excuse)
- How technology can distract you from doing other... hey, what's that shiny website over there?
- The obsession with attractiveness (archive)
- More on fat hysteria (striking note: a study discovered that "overweight" workers are the recipients of more negative attitudes than ex-felons or ex-mental patients)
- More fat hysteria
- Still more fat hysteria (archive)
- The real reason behind fat hysteria
- More of the real reason behind fat hysteria ($46,000,000,000 spent annually in the U.S. alone on dieting programs and products that historically have a 95% failure rate within 5 years)
- Fat hysteria strikes again
- And again
- And again (no, that's not a duplicate of the last bullet)
- An organization striking out against fat hysteria (note: despite its best intentions, $600K isn't going to make a dent in the $46 billion diet industry, but I appreciate your attempt!)
I was going to include a brief version of it here, but after about 10 bullet points, I decided that I simply can't do it justice. So, it will have to wait for another day. Probably some time in the future when I have vacation, so I can really spend a couple days on it.
To wit. I started this entry over five hours ago. Admittedly, I was distracted a couple times (see Point #7 above), but a significant portion of the time has been spent organizing bits and pieces and thoughts and ideas to create this mish-mash of a blog entry. Imagine what I could do if I dedicated all my time to it. Scary thought, eh?
Post script regarding the articles that I linked above. There are four reasons I send myself these articles.  I agree with the content.  I disagree with the content, and want to explain why.  I learned something new from the content.  They are humorous (see Point #1).
It is important to note that a number of the articles I linked above fall into Reason . It will be in my aforementioned essay that I will take the time to explain why I disagree. Please take into consideration when reading any of the linked articles that their inclusion in no way indicates my endorsement of the topic.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
I threw a standard set of cutlery (fork, knife, spoon) down onto the tarp from above (was I on a platform? staircase? maybe I was floating?), hoping to harpoon them. To add emphasis to this attack, I myself was howling in a spooky wail, "goooooooooooooooooo awaaaaaaaaay... ."
It was those last two words that woke up my poor husband at 2:30am, as I emitted the spectre-like chant from my sleep. Years ago, before Ted was in my life, I would wake myself up making some horrible cry in the middle of the night. It would usually scare me, I think partly because of the dreadful noises I made and partly because of the content of the dream that prompted the noises. Once awake, I would sit in the dark -- freaked out -- for about 10 minutes before turning on the clock radio or getting up to turn on the light or something else to get my mind off the situation.
Since then, this phenomenon occurs much less frequently, and when it does, my disquiet is quickly allayed by Ted's presence. He always wakes me as gently and firmly as he can, and then stays awake to make sure I'm not too freaked out. He's a great calming presence in my life. Next time I find myself battling ghosts with flatware, I know my husband will be close by to protect me.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
This is my goddaughter, Paige. She is 5½ years old. Two pictures, just because.
Paige gives Auntie Kelly a flower, Allison's christening, April 2005
Paige greets a guest, Easter 2005
And this is her little sister, Allison. She sleeps with her hands up over her head, just like her sister did when she was a baby. Two pictures of her, too. Same reason.
Allison's cute face, February 2005
Allison sleeping, Easter 2005
Isn't your day a little better having viewed these pictures? Life is sweet.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Her young daughter has been diagnosed as having severe cat allergies, and they have two cats. Obviously, her daughter's health is tantamount. But it's difficult for her to let the cats go. She's had both cats since they were kittens -- one a 16-year old sweetheart, and the other a healthy but handicapped fellow. And aside from losing their daily companionship, she naturally wants to be assured that they will be well taken care of.
When the possibility of removing the cats from their home was first raised, we offered that -- if it ever got to that point -- we would take them in. Well, it's at that point. So, we are now faced with a dilemma. Well, not quite a dilemma. We're faced with figuring out the details.
We have great relationships with both cats. Heck, I too, have known Kayla for 16 years, and Ted and I both met Chester (a.k.a. Woodle) when he joined their family several years ago. Our conundrum is in how Milo, Sadie, and Flannery (a.k.a. Schmoo) will take to the additional members of the feline Semple family, and similarly, how well Kayla and Woodle will adjust to becoming part of it. I think Sadie and Kayla (the elder girls) will have respective issues with the merger. Ted is concerned that Schmoo might not like it. We all think that the boys, Milo and Woodle, probably won't care. We also have some logistical concerns.
- An additional litter box (we have the perfect spot for one; not sure where we'll put a second)
- Blending and/or changing diets and feeding patterns
- For that matter finding floor space for all those food bowls
- Elbow room (enough space and comfy sleeping/hiding spots for each to have his/her own turf when necessary)
- Weekends away (currently, we can leave our three alone for a few days with the electronic litter box and adequate food and water; not sure how it will work with five)
- Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...
It feels like we're adopting children. Big decision. I feel fairly certain that it's a done deal, though. My poor friend is in a terrible spot, having to make such a choice, and it's not the world's biggest sacrifice for me to help her. My husband is being a terrific sport about it, considering that he was firmly in the "dog person" camp when I met him eight years ago. He has taken each new cat in stride, and although he still loves dogs, he has come to appreciate cats. He has the same concerns that I do about blending our two cat households (into our house), but he also understands the significance of the situation.
So, our current stance is to plan a weekend visit. My friend will come to Connecticut with Kayla and Woodle in tow, and we'll live together for a few days. If it's apparent that there won't be any major fueds, then they'll stay here with us. If there are big dust-ups that we think may not be resolved with time, we'll have to address the situation then.
It's a good thing I don't blog more frequently. It seems like everyday there is some weird situation that presents itself. I might come across as amazingly scattered, or perhaps even unglued, if I documented it all. This year has been chock full of them. The cat situation arose yesterday. Today's weird situation is a positive one: we won $100 from a scratch ticket I bought on a whim while filling up the car with gas. Yippee!
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Here's a minor indication of the scatteredness in which my brain works. There are three half-read books and two poetry anthologies on my nightstand, and I don't even read in bed -- ever. But that's where the books land when I want to remind myself to finish them. Alas, that tactic does not work. I Don't Mean to be Rude But..., Gig, and Autobiography of a Fat Bride were all books I started reading on plane trips. A new poetry book is easy enough to leaf through, and an old one is a comfort. I do have a love-hate relationship with most poetry anthologies, though, so I can be easily frustrated by them.
But the real point is that I can't even finish a silly little book (to call them fluff would be a tremendous compliment).
I'm alone today with no Sunday commitment (rare), and my husband is working a full eight-hour Mothers' Day shift. The perfect opportunity to work on all the house-based projects I've neglected so badly in the past few months. But then I slept late (after the 3:00 am blog entry), and then I wasted some time watching overly sentimental movies (Something's Gotta' Give, Safe Passage). Now I'm trying to clean and organize and 'make home,' and I feel like a complete failure because everytime I pick up an object to determine its fate, I am faced with myriad contingent questions. Even though I know I can't possibly do everything today, I feel like a failure for not being able to do it all in one day. How did I let it get so out of control?
That question will have to be contemplated while I get back to my chores. Both the washer and dryer have stopped, and there's a pile of clothes that need sorting -- those in good shape to give away and those in bad shape to trash.
I want to mention a few important milestones. About a month ago, my parents celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. Impressive, isn't it? I have siblings with annivesary numbers that are also impressive. One brother approaches his 23rd anniversary this summer, and another hits his 18th shortly after that. My sister reaches her 20th in the fall. I'm the toddler by a stretch, with just my 7th approaching in October.
My nephew, Josh, turned 17 the day before yesterday. That means that yesterday was the 17th anniversary of my college graduation (his parents were understandably unable to attend the ceremony!). Josh is a smart kid with cool hair, a penchant for alternative music, and a soft spot for the youngest cat in their house. No wonder he and I get along so well.
Josh and Cosmo - February 2005
I've also spent a bit of time and most of the last two Saturdays of April working on my Rebuilding Together project. This is the fourth year I've coordinated this, and the fifth project (one house required two years). In all, 45 volunteers from my office participated. This picture is only a portion of the first group, but it also includes the homeowners -- sisters, Gladys (in aqua, upper right) and Vicky (in pink, in front of Gladys).
First RT crew - April 23, 2005
Today is Mothers' Day. My husband has to work, so we will be with neither my mother nor his stepmother to celebrate the day. They both understand, but it's always a bit sad not to be able to spend the time with them.
We made it to New Hampshire a few weeks ago, to visit my family and for Ted to attend an Arena Football game with our friends, Sam and Donna (Josh went in my place). I don't know if we'll make it there this month, but we'll be back in mid-June when my oldest nephew, Andrew, graduates from high school.
This is the moment where a tear or two quietly trails down my cheek. My little punkin... is going to college in the fall. Wow. I have two pictures I was going to put here, but Picasa/Hello isn't cooperating. Perhaps tomorrow.
ADDENDA (a couple days later)
Andrew, my 3¾-year old punkin, in 1990
Andrew, my 17½-year old punkin, with Peg for prom in 2004
All right, for not actually catching up, that took more than an hour. It's now officially the middle of the night (didn't I have this conversation long ago?), and I must get to bed.
Oh, one more thing. A poll. I wanted to put this in my side bar, but it was making it all ugly. And I just figured out how to center the blog again, so I'm not tampering with it. Here is my highly scientific survey. For some unknown reason, there's a ton of blank space between the end of this paragraph and the beginning of the survey -- even though my HTML looks just dandy. I'll figure it out later, too.